Isaac recalled an experience one evening of “utter alienation” as he sat next to Silverman onstage. He felt as if he had been pulled out of the orchestra seats as an observer, and momentarily wondered if he’d be able to remember his lines.
“I feel like I am a lucky member of the audience,” he said. “She’s so good she makes me break character.”
Silverman, who grew up on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, was a studious kid, or “annoyingly precocious” in her words, consumed by hobbies and extracurriculars: In addition to acting and singing (she played Rizzo in “Grease” in middle school), she took ballet, played the piano and became a serious soccer player.
It wasn’t until she went to college at Brown and performed in Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” that she began to study acting, enrolling in all of the classes she could. After graduation, she stayed in Providence, R.I., pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts and acting in regional theater productions; some weeks she’d rehearse “Annie” by day and perform in “Electra” by night. (Alongside stage acting, Silverman has also had small parts in TV shows like “Blue Bloods,” “The Black List,” “Fleishman Is in Trouble” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”)
“I’ve always felt like there were so many different paths that I could have taken, or maybe still could take,” Silverman said. “But to me that’s related to what I love about acting, which is an endless curiosity for different things.”
A dream part came in 2006, when Silverman landed the role of Hennie in Clifford Odets’s “Awake and Sing!” at the Arena Stage in Washington, which she called a “Top 10 role” and credits with setting her career in motion. During the production, she started dating a fellow cast member, Adam Green, who is now her husband.
Since then, she has played many headstrong women who men don’t take seriously, at their own peril: the firebrand political organizer in Joe Gilford’s “Finks”; the deceived wife in Ayad Akhtar’s “Junk” on Broadway; the accomplished, emasculating artist in Will Arbery’s “Plano.”